Monday, April 25, 2011

A Requiem For One Tough Cat

He was the best mouse-killer I ever knew - a hitcat, but also a hep cat in the sense that he was a real swinger as well as a tough guy, always in my wife's lap, forever cuddling up around her boobs and draping his huge, lynx-worthy paw around her neck. I'm talkin' here about our family cat, formerly called "Professor" the way some criminals get called "Doc" - and for the same reason, his smarts. He had many aliases, including "Fessa", "Prof-Kitty" and "Izzy Fesskowitz". He rose from humble beginnings, spending his first year or two in some godforsaken trailer park in North Carolina, where he was burned with cigarettes and otherwise abused. He eventually ended up in state care, and was just about to be put down for his general obstreperousness when one of my wife's former students saw something in him, and adopted him. A year or two later, he ended up with us. He was a rascal from the get-go, rattling the blinds in our bedroom to get us up in the morning, or holding the septum of my wife's nose between his teeth to wake her up (when he wasn't sinking his claws into her scalp). He more than made up for his bad manners with his mouse-killing skills. I can still fuckin' remember being awakened from an erotic dream at three AM in the morning by this god-awful growling, punctuated by the sound of flesh being torn. I peeked over the side of the bed to see young Fessa tearing the bejesus out of some unfortunate mouse. He'd caught the mouse in the kitchen and had brought his kill up to us as tribute, "Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia" style. I don't know about my wife, but I was appreciative of his efforts. On later occasions, my wife and I would come back from a night out on the town to find the body parts of mice on our living room carpet. I remember one mangled liver in particular. Eventually, Fessa and I began to tussle regularly. I'd come at him with my hand wrapped up in three or four grungy gym socks, take hold of the guy, wrestle him down, and tickle the hell out of him until he hissed, bit and finally kicked his way to freedom. After which, he'd circle back for more. What a guy! Then, after our bouts with The Sock, I'd lie on the couch to rest, and he'd climb up onto my chest, purring up a storm as he held me captive. He was our in-house hitcat for thirteen years. About four months ago, we noticed that he'd gone blind. He got around the house pretty good despite that, but late last week his legs started to go and he got confused, circling endlessly around the kitchen like he didn't know where the hell he was. We took him to the vet, and she promptly diagnosed a brain tumor, one that was moving fast. The Saturday before Easter, the missus and I contracted a hit on our own hitcat, and helped hold him down while the vet put him out of his misery. He sleeps with duh fishes now, ya see, dreamin' (we hope) of tuna dinners in eternal paradise.

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